Friday, 13 June 2014

How much *stuff* do babies really (really!) need?

Living on a boat, we're all about clever storage solutions - space is definitely at a premium.

To me that's an advantage, not a drawback. It makes you think twice about everything you buy and what you really need (or not). I like an uncluttered environment, so even the space we do have I don't like to fill up with stuff.

Babies, it seems, bring with them a whole lot of stuff. Some of it clearly necessary, but some of it perhaps optional... as a first time mum I'm well aware I may be eating my words in a few months' time and buying all the stuff, but at the moment, I'm taking a minimalist approach to buying baby stuff:

Things we are buying / necessities:

Our new car seat.

  • A car seat. Just got one, second hand, never been in an accident, £10.
  • Baby clothes. Got two bags full of second hand neutral ones, mostly bodysuits but also tops, leggings, three hats, scratch mitts, and two thicker outdoor suits - £10 for the lot.
  • A carry cot. Got that for £10 too, unused even and still in original packaging! The mattress will be baby's main mattress, placed on our (king size) bed by my head at night (the bed is enclosed on 3 sides, baby being on the inside, so falling out is impossible). In the daytime, the carrycot can go wherever I happen to be at home - lounge, bathroom, wherever. It can be baby's sleeping place when we go out to see friends. We're looking at ways to hang it from hooks on our ceiling in the lounge - I'm liking the idea of baby hammocks with their gentle movement, and taking up less real estate on the furniture!
  • A changing mat. Not bought yet; looking to get one that folds up so I can take it places. This is instead of a changing table, for which there's no space.
  • Nappies. Can't get away without them! Probably disposables to take to hospital, but definitely reuseables after that. Reuseable cloths too. Coconut oil for cleansing & moisturising bottom. In terms of nappies I'm thinking of simple muslins and/or terry cloths with a cover, so that the cloths can do double duty and be useful for everything else too.
    I'm lucky to live in Bristol as there's a nappy library with lots of advice and even a hire service to try before you buy! Definitely plan to make use of that.
  • Nappy / changing bag. Have yet to figure out exactly what I want, but a backpack style one would work best I think.
  • A Pourty potty. The only potty design that seems to make sense to me. I plan to let baby relieve him/herself after feedings and whenever s/he seems to want to go, from the start - minimises nappy use & gets them used to toilets!
  • A carry wrap. Not bought yet; this will be baby's main mode of transport, being carried by either one of us. This replaces a pram, which we have neither space nor money for; and besides, prams are a pain to get around with. When baby outgrows the wrap, we'll probably switch to a structured carrier like the Ergo.
    Again, Bristol is the place to be - a sling library is available where you can hire a sling for 2 weeks to try it out before buying! Definitely doing that.
  • An old lady shopping trolley. Not strictly a baby item, but as there'll be no pram, I'll carry baby in a wrap and drag stuff (shopping, nappies, etc.) behind me in a shopping trolley. Which is much easier to work with through doorways, up stairs and so on!
  • An ear thermometer. Am told that is a necessity.

Wow, that's a boatload of stuff already! And I may come across more needful things yet...!

Things we have considered but aren't buying (not an exhaustive list - there are SO MANY THINGS you could buy!):

  • Pram. As I said above, I'll start with a carry wrap and hope that'll work for us. Besides, carrying a growing baby around has got to count as a workout and help with rebuilding core strength!
  • A baby bed / cot bed. Baby will sleep in our bed, on his/her own mattress so I won't roll onto them. They'll be within easy reach at night - no getting up to feed :-)
  • Moses basket. Carry cot will do that job for us.
  • Toys. I don't plan to buy any - there'll always be hand-me-downs. And babies don't start off needing toys anyway. As they grow, I'll figure out a system - an amount of toys I'm happy with, and then one in / one out.
  • Baby formula, bottles, bottle warmers, sterilisers, accessories. My breasts will have to do.
  • Baby monitor. The joy of living in a small space is I can hear what's going on! Besides, Fred (the dog) may turn out to be a perfectly good baby monitor, I've heard of many dogs that would alert the mum even before baby was crying.
  • Baby bath. The sink it is!

I can't think of many more things but wow, this whole enterprise is certainly an education!

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Thanks so much for sharing!